Curated by RSF Research Staff
Egyptian stone predates the Sun
Recent analysis of a stone found in the Libyan Desert Glass area of southwest Egypt, has sparked debate and a rethink of the current consensus on the formation of the solar system.
In a study, due to be published next month, a team of international researchers announced the resulting analysis of a stone that was subsequently named Hypatia after the ancient female astronomer of Alexandria.
Utilizing techniques from electron scanning microscopy, to proton induce X-ray emission and micro-Raman spectroscopy – the results revealed compounds not found anywhere on our planet, solar system or any known meteorite. As well, a lack of silicates was found which sets it apart from interplanetary dust particles and all known cometary material. Previous analysis of noble gas and nitrogen isotope studies suggest an extraterrestrial origin, which along with these new results strongly suggests a pre-solar origin and could indicate a high degree of heterogeneity in the solar nebula.
The general consensus on the formation of the solar system is that a huge cloud of gas was disturbed and caused to gravitationally collapse forming a solar nebula. The continuing collapse caused the nebula to increase in spin, forming a hot dense centre and a thin cooler surrounding disc. As the disc got thinner, particles began to coalesce and eventually became planets and satellites. The centre eventually got so hot and dense that it formed a star – the Sun. In this model the solar nebula is assumed to have a high degree of homogeneity. However, this new finding indicates a high degree of heterogeneity in the early solar nebula!!!
This is of huge significance not only to the formation of the solar system but also its age.